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A Hunger Artist; Adrien Brody Gained Gravitas by Losing Weight To Play a Holocaust Survivor in 'The Pianist'
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Personal profiles; Actors; Motion pictures -- Pianist, The
Author: Waxman, Sharon
Date: Jan 2, 2003
Start Page: C.01
Section: STYLE

It seems a little odd to hear [Adrien Brody] express these sentiments dressed the way he is, in such an opulent setting. The actor has about him the brash egoism of youth and talent. He grew up in New York with artsy-literati parents; his mother, Sylvia Plachy, is a well-known photographer, his father a teacher and now painter. Brody began acting from the age of 12, and attended New York's prestigious High School for the Performing Arts, emerging with lofty expectations for himself and his career.

They met at [Roman Polanski]'s house and discussed [Wladislaw Szpilman]'s story. They met for a beer. They met again, and Polanski gave him a script. Brody then heard nothing for weeks, and returned to New York. Only then did the director call and offer the role, giving Brody the opportunity to change his life.

The filming was as personal as moviemaking gets, and Brody was not alone in feeling the weight of the experience. During shooting, locals would stand by in surprise and watch the reenactment of the brutality of the war, watch Brody walk down the street with a Star of David on his arm, a Nazi mark of shame. (Brody's own father is Jewish, his mother Catholic, but the actor grew up without a strong connection to either religion.)

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